Tel: 630.960.5060
Your "Total" Source For Fire Safety & Security

  1. The Business Owner’s Checklist for Commercial Fire Safety in 2019

    December 4, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

     

    A brand new year is a great time for businesses to evaluate what they can improve upon, even in terms of their commercial fire safety.  No business is completely immune to accidental fires and having the right equipment in place year round can prevent potential devastation.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 3,300 fires break out in office buildings across the U.S each year.  The NFPA reports that a number of people are killed or injured with an estimated $112 million in property damage.

    If you’re a business set on achieving your 2019 goal of reaching NFPA compliance, take a look at checklist of equipment you need below for commercial fire safety. Anything missing? Call Total Fire & Safety. We can help!

    ____    Alarms

    • Fire and smoke alarms are the first line of defense and should be regularly inspected and in working order.
    • Consider wireless fire alarm monitoring, which is more efficient for many businesses.
    • Have a plan of action for occupants should the alarm sound.

    ____     Extinguishers and Suppression Systems

    • Conduct tests regularly to ensure function and pressure when activated.
    • Schedule routine maintenance of equipment.
    • Store extinguishers in open areas for easy access.

    ____     Emergency Lighting

    • Effective emergency lighting throughout the building will help occupants to safety in an emergency.
    • Schedule regular maintenance and inspections.

    Equipment is essential and necessary to prevent major damage but people are too! Whether it’s putting out a fire or tending to the injured, what good is the equipment if you don’t have employees able to use it?

    ____    First Aid

    ____    Training Courses

    • A comprehensive fire equipment training course on the use of fire equipment and first aid can place confidence in employees and keep everyone safe.
    • Training employees reduces the chance of small fires starting and spreading.

    You could have all the equipment ready and employees trained to use it but they need something else.

    ____   Emergency Preparedness Plan

    • Remind employees to REACT-(remove from danger, ensure doors/windows are closed, activate alarm, call 911, treat as dangerous.)
    • Conduct fire drills.
    • Schedule inspections of all fire equipment.
    • Have employees trained on firefighting equipment.

    Making sure you have commercial fire safety in place can seem a daunting task but the pros at Total Fire and Safety are here to simplify it.  TFS covers everything including inspection, maintenance, training, and keeping your building up to code so you are well protected in the event of an unforeseen fire. Give us a call today at 630-960-5060.


  2. Are You In the Dark About Emergency Exit Lights?

    March 15, 2018 by Total Fire and Safety

    Nobody thinks much about emergency exit lights. But if the power suddenly goes out, smoke fills the room and you can’t see a foot in front of you, relying on the emergency lights may be your only means of escape.

    Emergency exit lights are essential to safety in any dangerous situation. They can alarm someone in a fire, be the only source of light in the dark, and the key to safely exiting the building. Emergency exit lights are often overlooked and taken for granted, but take note of how many you come across every day. Do you realize how many requirements and regulations go into the installation and maintenance of one exit sign?

    There are numerous agencies that govern emergency exit lighting and signs: OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), NFPA (National Fire Protection Administration, JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the International Building Code and International Fire Code. Above all these agencies, the local authority is responsible for monitoring and enforcing building/fire codes.

    According to OSHA, an exit route is defined as a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety. There are three parts to an exit route:

    • Exit access-part of the exit route that leads to an exit.
    • Exit-part of the exit route that is separated from other areas and provides a safe means of travel to exit discharge.
    • Exit discharge-part of the exit route that leads to directly outside or refuge area.

    OSHA’s requirements for the lighting of these afore mentioned exit routes is covered under 1910.37(b). It states that each exit route must be sufficiently lighted so an employee with normal vision can see along the exit route and each exit must be clearly visible and marked by a sign reading “EXIT.” Additional information for OSHA requirements can be found at www.osha.gov.

    The NFPA guidance for emergency exit lighting and signs can be found in the NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. The NFPA’s Life Safety Code provides information for placement, illumination, and visibility for exit signs.

    • Placement of exit sign. Any exit signs must be located so that no point in an exit access area is more than the sign’s viewing distance, or 100 feet from the nearest sign.
    • Visibility of exit signs-Every sign must be located and of such size, distinctive color and design that is visible and contrasts from the background of its placement. NFPA also states no decorations, furnishings, or equipment that impairs visibility of a sign shall be permitted. Nothing should be placed near an exit sign that distracts attention and inhibits visibility of an exit sign.
    • Illumination of Exit Signs-The NFPA states all exit signs must be illuminated by a reliable light source and legible in normal and emergency exit lighting modes. There are two categories of illumination: external illumination, which comes from outside the exit sign and internal illumination, which comes from a source inside an exit sign.

    According to the NFPA, emergency illumination must be provided for a minimum of 1.5 hours in the event of power outage. The emergency lighting must be illuminated not less than an average of one lumen per square foot. The maximum illumination at any point can be 40 times the minimum illumination. All emergency exit lighting must be able to provide lighting automatically when normal light is interrupted.

    Many emergency exit lights are now using LED lights. The NFPA states that LED lights are longer lasting, provide better light and are most durable. In emergency situations, LED lights emit sufficient lighting and are most effective when placed properly. They are also most energy efficient, saving the building money.

    According to the NFPA requirements for testing, there are three categories of emergency lights: traditional, self-testing, and computer base self-testing. A monthly activation test which involves having the lights illuminate for no less than 30 seconds and an annual test which keeps the lights illuminated for 1.5 hours, simulating a long-term emergency. Records of these test must be maintained for inspection.

    Many regulations, codes, and considerations go into the signs and lights you see every day so it is important to have regular maintenance and testing of these lights. Total Fire and Safety has a knowledge team for inspecting emergency exit lighting. With regular maintenance and testing from Total Fire and Safety, you can be assured your emergency exit lighting is up to code and the safety of your employees/tenants is assured. Give us a call today 630-960-5060.


  3. A New Year in TFS’s Commercial Fire Protection Training Room

    February 14, 2017 by Total Fire and Safety

    If you visit the TFS headquarters in Woodridge, Illinois, make sure you take a look at our newly remodeled training room. Training is essential to what we do at Total Fire & Safety, not only for new employees but to help existing ones stay up-to-date on the latest hazards, fire codes and prevention techniques.

    Our existing employees know the training room well. This is a picture of our fire extinguisher division meeting. Every month, each division of Total Fire & Safety, fire extinguisher, sprinkler,  fire alarm  and backflow,  meet for monthly training and information exchange sessions. By gathering together, our team in each division can share information about their experiences in the field and discuss what is working or needs to be improved. Each division has their own concern with fire safety, so holding these division exclusive meetings is very helpful.

    Who benefits most from these meetings? The TFS customer!

    These meetings are one of many ways TFS is always trying to become more efficient and stay abreast of the latest in fire prevention and NFPA codes for their customers. The meetings help Total Fire & Safety deliver their very best in expertise, installation, maintenance and customer service to all our wonderful customers.

    Thank you to all of our customers for making 2016 a great year for us. We promise to do everything we can as your commercial fire protection company to make 2017 a safe one for your commercial fire safety. If you have any questions about fire safety for your business or want to update your fire equipment going into the new year, don’t hesitate to contact us at 630-960-5060.

     


  4. How Fire Safety Training Pays

    August 17, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    If you are an employer with ten or more employees, you are probably aware that OSHA requires you to conduct fire safety training and first aid training for your employees. But what is the value of this safety training? Does it really make a difference, or is it just a technicality?

    The fact is, different kinds of occupational injuries and accidents, including fire safety ones, cost companies thousands and even millions of dollars a year. These include the direct costs of property damage and employee injury as well as the indirect costs of production down time and the intangible profitability loss from the lingering emotional effect on the morale of the employees. If you’ve ever wondered what that dollar amount would be for an injury at your jobsite, OSHA developed a calculator tool that you can use to see the cost of an injury at your business.  As an employer, you are liable for the injuries or accidents that happen in your workplace, so making sure your employees are properly trained can save you money.

     

    The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has gathered extensive data on the effectiveness of quality safety training programs, and the results are promising. Some of their findings include:

    • OSHA estimates that companies that implement effective safety programs can expect reductions of 20% or greater in injury and illness rates, as well as a return of $4 to $6 for every $1 invested in the programs.
    • Workplace injuries will cost society $128 billion in losses this year, which equals one-quarter of each dollar of pre-tax corporate profits
    • Indirect costs of injuries may be 20 times the direct costs — Indirect costs include: training and compensating replacement workers; repairing damaged property; accident investigation and implementation of corrective action; scheduling delays and lost productivity; administrative expense; low employee morale and increased absenteeism; poor customer and community relations
    • Conducting effective safety training has been proven to lower your Workplace Modification Factor, which insurance companies use to assess businesses and determine their rates.

     

    All in all, studies have proven that safety training programs can save your business money and grief.  More ASSE reports on the returns on safety training investment can be found here.

     

    The best safety training programs will be tailored to the type of injuries or accidents your employees are most likely to encounter. This is especially true in the realm of fire safety training, where different companies will need to know different things about the fires they are most likely at risk for in their working environment. As a result, all fire safety and first aid training programs are not alike. Choose the best fire safety training program or first aid training program for your company.

     

    For more information on the specific needs of your business and how to achieve OSHA standards at a practical price, contact your local OSHA consultation office. Offering the right fire safety training and first aid training courses that prevent injuries will empower your employees to handle emergency situations well and prevent potentially fatal injuries. Don’t fail them! Look into Total Fire & Safety training today! For more information, contact Total Fire & Safety at 630-960-5060.


  5. Five Important Questions to Get Your Money’s Worth from Fire Safety Training

    April 13, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    If your business has more than ten employees, they are going to need annual fire safety training. Some businesses rush to the least expensive program that will satisfy OSHA requirements, assuming that all training is the same; however, that’s simply not true. Fire safety training can vary in quality based on a number of factors, and many come with “hidden” fees that you may not be aware of. So what should you look for?  Here are some important questions to ask before you book the training company.

    1. What kind of course would you recommend? The course you need for your company should address the most probable emergencies that can occur at your facility. A training company worth its salt will tailor the course to your needs, surveying your business ahead of time to determine the most important content needed for your employees.

    2. Who is teaching the course? Make sure the instructors are experienced professionals who know what real emergencies are like and how they occur. It’s even better if the instructor has experience with real-life emergencies. Nothing compares to the knowledge of a first responder who has faced countless fires and hazardous events. They can share personal stories, anecdotes and examples related to the training, which can make the class more interesting.

    3. What will the course cover?  Basic training courses cover how to use the fire extinguisher, but the most important thing employees should learn is WHEN to use the fire extinguisher. A good training course will focus on the importance of making fast and accurate, life-or-death decisions. Not only should your employees know how to fight fires, but also WHEN to fight the fire, and most importantly, when not to fight the fire. Evacuating and leaving it to the professionals is sometimes the best decision an employee can make.

    4. Where will the training take place?  Many fire safety trainings are performed outdoors, with a live burn in a pan that employees practice extinguishing. Although exciting, putting out a pan fire in a parking lot does not accurately simulate a realistic fire or emergency situation! Also, elements of the weather such as wind can affect the fire and unrealistically hamper the efforts of the employee trying to learn proper extinguishing techniques. It is much more effective to practice emergency procedures where they actually occur—inside the facility. With the help of digital technology, your employees can learn to extinguish the exact type of fire they would most likely face right at their worksite. This “on-the-spot” training also helps employees develop realistic evacuation plans and teach them to work as a team in an emergency situation.

    5. Will there be extra costs involved with the equipment or the course materials? If the trainer is using “live burns”, or actual fires to practice extinguishing, you will need to have a burn permit and may incur any associated costs with setting up an outdoor space needed for the demonstration. If the training company uses your fire equipment for a live burn session, you will have to recharge them. You may not have budgeted for this unexpected, volatile cost, and it will vary based on how many turns each participant receives to extinguish the fire. The fire safety courses offered by Total Fire & Safety use high-tech, virtual simulators to practice extinguishing fires, which are versatile and allow more practice for each participant. These simulators feature virtual fire on a screen that responds realistically to the participant’s motions with the fire extinguisher. The indoor training gives each person multiple attempts with a full extinguisher every time until they feel confident with their firefighting skill.  Compared to outdoor training, simulated training is more cost effective, accurate, completely green, and requires no messy clean-up or permit fees.

    So before booking a company to perform fire safety training for your employees, ask these questions to make sure you receive your money’s worth for your employees and your business. No one can predict how an emergency will unfold, but the right training company can make sure your employees are not only prepared to fight a fire, but are adept at making quick decisions about whether or not it is safe to do  so. For more information, contact the professionals at Total Fire & Safety at 630-960-5060.


  6. Five Reasons Why Employees Should Have First Aid Training

    February 26, 2016 by Total Fire and Safety

    You may think you know the importance of first aid and fire safety, but the real impact of first aid and fire equipment training in the workplace is often overlooked. Whether your business is a high or low-risk environment, there are always risks that can lead to medical emergencies.

    1. Increasing profitability. A safer workplace means less missed workdays due to injuries. According to the National Safety Council, in 2012, nearly 5 million workers were injured at work, which costed employers a total of $198.2 billion.

    2. Saving your employees time and money. It is proven that businesses and employees will save money if accidents are handled quickly and effectively. The National Safety Council attests that 25 percent of all emergency room visits can be avoided with basic first aid and CPR certification.

    3. It really does save lives. If your employees don’t know how to handle injuries, the condition of the victim could worsen before the ambulance arrives, and cause further trauma and debilitation, not to mention medical costs and possibly, even death. Having a commercial first aid kit on the job sends a message to your employees that you value their health and well-being and are doing all you can to mitigate any injuries that occur on the job. It also shows that you never want your employees to be vulnerable to unattended injury.

    4. It is required by law for many workplaces. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires businesses to provide first aid and CPR training to employees if there is no nearby clinic or hospital. Make sure you also have a commercial first aid kit available in your workplace. Obviously, if your business deals with risky materials or conditions, having a commercial first aid kit makes sense whether or not you are bound by law.

    5. Teach your employees how to use emergency equipment. You spend money keeping your workplace up to code with commercial fire extinguishers and first aid kits, but these things don’t handle emergencies by themselves! Your employees need to know how to work fire extinguishers and use first aid supplies correctly. The investment need not be costly; a simple on-site class with the staff in attendance should suffice.

    Total Fire & Safety can handle all your needs whether it be fire extinguishers, first aid kits, fire extinguisher training, or first aid training. For more information, visit our website or you can contact us at 630-960-5060.